The “Red Reel”..a Fishin` Tale

Just a little “Tale”………..”The Red Reel”………..

Many many years ago………. as a matter fact, I was eleven years old to be exact,….

We always had quite a few different fishin` poles in the garage. Well there was this one pole in particular that was kinda old and looked like it had definitely seen better days. Heck three or four of the eyes of the pole were held on by black electrical tape(My Dad worked for Power & Light so we always had plenty of black electrical tape!~ha! ha!)………… and it had this Red Reel with this old green fly-line on it that was all cracked from age.

So I asked my Dad what the heck kind of pole is this?? He took it down & brushed off the cobwebs & said, “It`s a fly-rod”………… He said, “C`mon I take you down on the road to show you how to use it”……….. We went down the driveway and out of Raritan Drive and that`s where I got my first Fly-Fishin` lesson from Dad.

As Dad worked the line through the eyes of this old beaten-up fly-rod, I remember how it had this old, worn out, cracked green line on the reel. He showed me how to cast it it & explained how to “dry a fly” by whipping it back & forth.

After I fooled around with it for about an hour, I was ready to try my hand on the river and have a go at some trout!

I remember Dad gave me three flies……… one was blue-ish gray, another one olive color and the third one was this cool lookin` brown fly with yellow wings of some sort.

I got on my bike and put the pole strategically under my seat & resting on the handle bars as I had done so many times before and off to the river I went.

I went down to Ader`s dock and tied on a fly and started lashing out my new “weapon for the water” – ha! ha! …..Now if there was one thing that I always had as a youngster when it came to fishin` it was patience. The thought of catchin` fish on this dinosaur-ish lookin` beat up old fly rod had me quite intrigued and would certainly prove to be a challenge for an eleven year old.

Well…..after quite a few casting attempts on the dock, no luck………… so I moved over next to FredĀ Bischoff`s barn……………

As I gazed into my plastic container that held the other two flys, I decided to try that cool lookin` yellow one………….

After about my fourth cast…………… the magic happened!

BAM!……….. a nice brown trout exploded on the surface of the river as he whacked that yellow fly and I set the hook!

“Holy cow!” I thought as I landed my first trout ever caught on a fly! I did it!

From that point on, that was it……………. I was “hooked” on fly-fishin`!

Now ya see as a kid I never had any really expensive fly-fishin` gear…….

But to this day, the only reel you`ll ever see me fly fishin` with is that old JC Higgins “Red Reel” in the picture below………. The very same reel I used over 40 years ago to catch my first trout down by Fred`s barn in the South Branch of the Raritan River in Califon.


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One thought on “The “Red Reel”..a Fishin` Tale”

  1. Great story, Ken. It reminds of how my dad used to take me fishing as a kid. We didn’t fly fish though. I have one of those old reels back in Arizona, along with two fly rods. My dad took me saltwater fishing and my Uncle Edwin took me to lakes in the poconos fishing for bass and pike. Those were about the best memories of my youth.

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Out & about in the New Jersey Wilderness